The question that everyone asked in the late 1960s and to date is who was the fifth man? In fact it was who the fourth man was? Then the name of Antony Blunt came to be aired and so the quest was for the fifth man.
Harold Wilson resigned suddenly from office on 16 March 1976, with effect from 5 April 1976. There has been much talk as to the reasons of his resignation. Was he the fifth man? Was he in a homosexual relationship with Jeremy Thorpe? Did he receive £1 million in diamonds from the South African government for turning a blind eye to apartheid? Was he in a sexual relationship with Marcia Williams his secretary?
Before one answers those questions and who was the fifth man, it is necessary to consider the background of Harold Wilson.
It is without doubt that the most senior Labour Politician on whom the Security Services held a file post-war was Harold Wilson.
In 1961, he sought to become Labour leader and challenged Hugh Gaitskell for the Labour leadership.
The file on Wilson was in fact opened in 1945, a few days after he became a Member of Parliament. Strangely enough, he became a Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Works immediately upon being elected. In 1947 at the tender age of only 31 he became the President of the Board of Trade and the youngest member of the Attlee Cabinet.
For reasons that were never quite explained and the obvious sensitivity of a file on a Minister, all documents and file title were under the pseudonym of “Norman John Worthington”.
A note on the file states the following: “The Security interest attaching to Wilson and justifying the opening of a PF derives from comments made about him by certain Communist members of the Civil Service which suggested an identity or similarity of political outlook.”
A further note on the file recorded from a Communist Civil Servant at the Ministry of Works stated the following regarding Wilson’s move to the Board of Trade in 1947: “He and I were getting, you know, quite a plot, but it has all gone West now.”
Wilson was sacked from the Board of Trade in 1951 and left the Cabinet over a dispute involving defence expenditure. In October 1954, a year before Clement Attlee retired as Labour leader, the Security Services picked up on a conversation in the bugged King Street offices of the Communist Party of Great Britain. That conversation favoured Harold Wilson in taking over as Labour leader rather than Aneurin Bevan. In fact, neither took control of the Labour Party since that honour went to Hugh Gaitskell who would subsequently be murdered by the KGB on one of his trips to Moscow, allowing Harold Wilson to take the leadership.
Whilst Wilson was the President of the Board of Trade, he paid three official visits to Moscow alleging trade negotiations and even played a game of cricket with the then NKVD (KGB). His contacts in Russia increased whilst he was in opposition and from 1952 to 1959 he was a loosely defined economic consultant for Montague L Meyer Ltd, timber importers from the Soviet Union, and paid numerous visits to Moscow supposedly on timber business, but increasingly meeting Soviet leaders and establishing himself as the Labour Party’s main Soviet expert. The Security Service files note that in May 1953 the Daily Worker reported with their headlines that Wilson had “warm and friendly talks with Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister”. The Security Services followed his every move and recorded in the files.
On each of his trips, he was accompanied by a then beautiful blonde known as Marcia Williams, with whom he would have a relationship for the rest of his life.
Among Wilson’s many contacts was a man called Roland Berger who in fact was top of the list of both MI5 and MI6 of people selected to be interned in the event of a war with Russia. In 1954 Wilson even suggested to Berger names of businessmen who might join his British Council for the Promotion of International Trade which was completely under the control of the Communist Party and ultimately Moscow.
Surveillance on Harold Wilson by both MI5 and MI6, covered in the files, shows he was over-friendly with a KGB officer operating under diplomatic cover in the Russian Embassy - Ivan Fedorovich Skripov. He was also friendly with a Nikolai Dmitrievich Belokhvostikov. The file states that “if he does not know that they are KGB Officers, he surely must suspect it”.
Many years later, Wilson would claim that he had acted under the assumption that any Soviet diplomat with whom he had dealings might be working for the KGB.
But MI5 and MI6 were not the only ones to keep a file on Harold Wilson.
The KGB and CIA had also opened an active file on him. An MI6 officer in the late 1980s discovered that Wilson’s KGB file was so highly valued that the reports on it and its contents were passed to the Politburo and the Soviet leadership.
In January 1956, after his 6th visit to Moscow, Wilson told KGB agent Skripov that Moscow was sure to like an article that Wilson had written for the Liverpool Daily Post on his meeting with the Soviet First Deputy Prime Minister, Mikoyan.
Skripov, according to the KGB files, was even more impressed by two articles that Wilson had written in the Daily Mirror on his meetings in Moscow with Nikita Khrushchev. He denounced those Western diplomats and journalists who had written of Khrushchev as a clown. Wilson wrote “They are wrong - the West must not underrate this man”.
Wilson applauded and promoted Soviet achievement in what was previously a backward economy which Wilson now described as moving to “mechanisation, electrification and automation”.
That article appeared in the Daily Mirror on 18 January 1956 and was read by millions of British citizens.
In June 1956 Wilson was back in Moscow and had further meetings with senior Soviet figures. The Sunday Despatch edition of 20 June 1956 reported that although his visits to Russia were “probably in connection with the timber trade”, many believed his aim was to be the next Foreign Minister in a Labour government and achieving such by building up contacts with the Soviet leadership.
The Security Service file notes that in October 1956 with the Soviet invasion of Hungary, Wilson refused to sign a letter by Labour MPs condemning the invasion.
According to his KGB files, reviewed by an MI6 officer in the 1980s and maintained by that officer, one of the firms with which Wilson was involved reached the Western COCOM embargo on strategic exports to Soviet Bloc countries. The Mitrokhin archive confirms such.
It is without doubt that Wilson profited personally and economically in his trade with the Soviet Bloc countries even to the extent of breaching the sanctions against the Soviet Bloc countries.
His praise for the Soviet leadership was without parallel. In 1956 at the same time he met Marcia Williams, the KGB opened what is termed a “development file” and the name of that file was “ORDNING”.
Inside the file, a section was left for Marcia Williams.
Wilson lost the leadership of the Labour Party to Hugh Gaitskell in October 1961 and positioned himself in the centre. He certainly, according to the files, did not fully support his leader, but neither did he support Michael Foot on the extreme left of the party. In January 1962, he was appointed shadow Foreign Secretary and, in that position, he moved slightly to the right of a left-wing party.
Marcia Williams moved to the left, but the death/murder of Hugh Gaitskell in January 1963 would be a changing factor for both Wilson and Williams and their respective positions with the KGB.
Gaitskell was Wilson's predecessor as Leader of the Labour Party. About a month before he died he told his colleagues that he was going to Russia.
After he died his doctor got in touch with MI5 and asked to see somebody from the Service. Arthur Martin, as the head of Russian Counterespionage, went to see him. The doctor explained that he was disturbed by the manner of Gaitskell's death. He said that Gaitskell had died of a disease called lupus disseminata, which attacks the body's organs. He said that it was rare in temperate climates and that there was no evidence that Gaitskell had been anywhere recently where he could have contracted the disease.
Arthur Martin suggested that a Security Services officer should go to Porton Down, the chemical and microbiological laboratory for the Ministry of Defence. The Officer went to see the chief doctor in the chemical warfare laboratory, Dr Ladell, and asked his advice. He said that nobody knew how one contracted lupus. There was some suspicion that it might be a form of fungus and he did not have the “foggiest idea” how one would infect somebody with the disease.
The next development was that Anatoliy Mikhaylovich Golitsyn, a Soviet defector, told the Security Services that during the last few years of his service he had had some contacts with Department 13, which was known as the Department of Wet Affairs in the KGB. This department was responsible for organising assassinations. He said that just before he left he knew that the KGB were planning a high-level political assassination in Europe in order to get their man into the top place. He did not know which country it was planned in but he pointed out that the chief of Department 13 was a man called General Rodin, who had been in Britain for many years and had just returned on promotion to take up the job, so he would have had good knowledge of the political scene in England.
The Security Services did not know what would be the next step because Ladell had said that it wasn't known how the disease was contracted. MI5 consulted Jim Angleton then head of the CIA about the problem. He said that he would get a search made of Russian scientific papers to see whether there was any hint of what the Russians knew about this disease. A month or two later he sent a paper about lupus which he had had translated from a Russian scientific journal. The paper was several years old and Angleton reported that there were no other papers in the Russian literature that they could find. This paper described the use of a special chemical which the Russians had found would induced lupus in experimental rats. However, it was unlikely that this particular chemical could have been used to murder Gaitskell because the quantities required to produce lupus were considerable and had to be given repeatedly.
The paper was taken to Ladell and, while surprised by this area of Soviet expertise, he confirmed that it was unlikely that Gaitskell could have been poisoned by the coffee and biscuits. But he pointed out that the paper was seven years old and if the Russians had continued to work on it they might have found a much better form of the chemical which would require much smaller doses and perhaps work as a one-shot drug. He wrote a note saying there was no way of proving it without doing a lot of scientific work and Porton was unable to do the necessary work as it was already overloaded.
The hunt for what is now known as the “Magnificent Five” is something that occupied the Security Services for a number of years. Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross were all recruited at or very soon after leaving the University of Cambridge in the mid-1930s. Anthony Blunt was a treble agent and was certainly no traitor. Only HM the Queen and Harold Wilson knew this, but it would be some years before Blunt would be exposed by the media.
Whilst the Security Services and the media have made much about the hunt for the “Magnificent Five”, since 1948 over 30 high profile agents in MI5 and MI6 were effectively working for the Soviet Bloc countries. It was not until the spring of 1951 that the Security Services deciphered a 7-year old KGB telegram from Washington to Moscow that identified one of the “Magnificent Five”.
That person was Donald Maclean, who was ironically identified by Kim Philby, which allowed a good while to arrange the escape of Donald Maclean, but that discovery took the Security Services completely by surprise and from 1951, by which time Harold Wilson was well established, the Security Services began the most complex and longest drawn out investigation in its history, taking over 40 years to complete - and there is a suggestion that it has still not been completed. There are still double, treble and even double double agents within MI5 and MI6 with the focus now shifted more to the economics of the spy industry as opposed to the ideological principles adopted by agents post-war.
One has to remember that while most agents were recruited all had excellent backgrounds - and nearly all university degrees - with the bulk from the University of Cambridge.
Much has been made of the relationship between Harold Wilson and Marcia Williams. Joe Haines, the press secretary during the Wilson government, stated publicly that there was a sexual relationship between Wilson and Williams. But there were also Security Services’ intercepts which show that Harold Wilson’s doctor suggested “disposing” of Williams because she kept threatening to destroy his premiership.
Marcia Williams’ incredible sway over Wilson has led to constant speculation that it could be only the result of a sexual relationship. Williams often boasted that she had enjoyed a sexual relationship with Harold Wilson. Covert surveillance and intercepts also show that Williams on one occasion, in 1974, summoned Mary Wilson, the PM’s wife, to tell her “I have only one thing to say to you. I went to bed with your husband six times in 1956, and it was not satisfactory.”
Wilson rewarded Williams with a peerage in 1974, not because of any sexual relationship that may or may not have occurred in 1956 in Moscow - more likely than not - but because he was aware that she was and remains a Soviet agent to this day. Wilson knew her political ideology and tendencies and whilst, over a period of time, the focus was on the sexual element of any relationship, it was a red herring. The fact that the Prime Minister knew she was an agent and did nothing about it from 1956 onwards was the real cause and reason for his ultimate resignation. It was only by rewarding her by a high-elevated office when Wilson realised that he was ill that Williams abated and has to this day remained the “mystery woman” of English politics. The murder plot against her was discussed three times after Harold Wilson had told his doctor that Williams had claimed to have had sex with the Prime Minister.
In 1975, Wilson’s second term in Downing Street went from bad to worse and from crisis to crisis, and many close to Wilson grew increasingly concerned at the effect Marcia Williams was having on him.
The idea of murdering Williams came to Wilson’s personal doctor, Joe Stone, when he heard that Williams was considering suing a newspaper, as she has done repeatedly over the years on allegations of sexual impropriety with Wilson. Dr Stone felt that Williams could not last in the witness box without the tranquillisers he prescribed for her and she kept in a locket around her neck. The Security Services were even consulted as to whether the locket could be taken when she was asleep and the tranquilliser substituted with a poison but Wilson did not authorise such.
Dr Stone according to Security Services’ files was utterly devoted to Wilson but loathed Marcia Williams with venom. His idea of “disposing of her” would take the weight of a potential blackmailer from Harold Wilson. In fact, Stone was ideally suited because had the Security Services been authorised at substituting a tranquilliser with a poison it would have been Dr Stone that would have signed the death certificate.
Security Services’ intercepts at 10 Downing Street also show that a similar suggestion was made to Bernard Donoghue, the Head of Wilson’s Policy Unit. The matter was finally put to bed when Wilson, Dr Stone and Donoghue were on an official visit to Bonn and the three decided that they would never mention such a plan again
Marcia Williams is still in the House of Lords and she has always rejected any claims of a sexual relationship with Wilson and has also rejected claims that she used her position to undermine him.
She divorced her husband Ed Williams in 1961, and in the late 1960s had two children by the political editor of the Daily Mail, Walter Terry, but nothing much is heard of them today. There was a suggestion that Terry assumed paternity but that they were really the children of Harold Wilson.
When Wilson lost office in 1970, Marcia Williams seized all of his papers and it was her brother, Tony Field, who helped Harold Wilson break into her garage to recover them.
She is no Sally Bercow, and lives alone in a Westminster flat observing the world through eyes that have lost none of their sharpness.
Mary Wilson is a poet and as a political wife she has never given a full-blown newspaper interview. When Harold Wilson died and was buried in his favoured Scilly Islands, she wrote a special poem for her husband.
My love you have stumbled slowly
On the quiet way to death
And you lie where the wind blows strongly
With a salty spray on its breath
For this men of the island bore you
Down paths where the branches meet
And the only sounds were the crunching grind
Of the gravel beneath their feet
And the sighing slide of the ebbing tide
On the beach where the breakers meet.
On the quiet way to death
And you lie where the wind blows strongly
With a salty spray on its breath
For this men of the island bore you
Down paths where the branches meet
And the only sounds were the crunching grind
Of the gravel beneath their feet
And the sighing slide of the ebbing tide
On the beach where the breakers meet.
Lady Wilson has published no less than three volumes of verse, and rather than turn to the tabloids in times of crisis and disappointment, she turned to poetry. Her first volume was written when she decided not to go to university. She did so out of sacrifice because she did not want to create an expense for her father. Instead, she attended a business college and became a secretary in a soap factory called Lever Brothers, and was even involved in a case of constructive dismissal
In 1934, Harold Wilson, who was the preparing to go to Oxford University, visited a tennis club where she was a member and it was ‘love at first sight’. The allegations that Wilson was a Soviet spy, anyone carefully considering such would immediately have recognised that Wilson attended Oxford and not Cambridge, but that has always been a further red herring in order that the activities of Williams would remain secret.
There were allegations that Wilson accepted £1m in diamonds form the South African government during his first spell as PM. This was supposedly to turn a blind eye to the policy of apartheid. The Security Services had gather more than sufficient evidence of such, but the South African Security Services, being of a distrustful nature, wanted to be sure that Wilson would keep his word. They arranged for Charles Richardson, the so-called “torture gang boss” to bug the offices of 10 Downing Street. At the time, Richardson owned a company that provided cleaning services to the government and it was no difficulty whatsoever in effectively bugging 10 Downing Street.
Transcripts of those intercepts show clearly that Wilson maintained his policy supporting apartheid but also uncovered conversations with Williams in heated discussions and arguments over her being a Soviet agent
Wilson wanted to restrict the information that was being passed to Moscow and, as the Prime Minister, relaying secret information was relatively simple because no-one controlled or searched him.
In 1974, when Wilson became Prime Minister for a second time, he was sure that the Security Services were spying on him. In fact, they had been spying on him since 1947 and although the South African Security Services had bugged 10 Downing Street for some ten months, so had MI5.
The file on Wilson was however restricted and not in his name, thus ensuring the utmost of reservations.
Richardson came back from South Africa to help his brother and in return received a sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment for an offence that at its worst should have been no greater than five years. The Security Services were not certain whether Richardson had ever read the transcripts or listened to the tapes of the intercepts. As it happened, he had not, but he had kept a copy. In 1984, on his release from prison, he handed a copy of the BASF re-mastered tapes to a friend, who in turn would help him obtain a visa to visit the USA.
But at no time did Charles Richardson ever listen to the tapes and as such he never knew the real secret that cost him 25 years in prison.
Harold Wilson left office because the strain of it all was too much, promoting a number of his friends – who were Soviet agents - to the House of Lords. But the most dangerous of them remains Marcia Williams.
Throughout his political life for whatever strange and unexplained reason, Marcia Williams had a kind of a Svengali hold over Wilson, but also vice versa. Wilson returned to power in February 1974 with only four seats ahead of the Conservatives, which in no way could constitute an overall majority. At any time the government could collapse and many Labour MPs were beginning to question the role of an unelected Marcia Williams over British politics.
Between 1970 and 1974, whilst Wilson was in opposition, many of the friends that he had accumulated in the past and involved in East-West trade all attracted the favourable attention of MI5 and MI6. Joseph Kagan was but one. Of course, he was subsequently ennobled and became Lord Kagan. His claim to fame was that his company, Gannex, manufactured the coats which became a Wilson trademark.
In August 1970, KGB resident officer in London, Richardas Vaygauskas, even congratulated Kagan on his knighthood which was awarded on Wilson’s recommendation. The Security Services’ file shows that the words used were “so proud that Britain had, at last, a Lithuanian knight”.
Kagan went as far as inviting Vaygauskas to his investiture at Buckingham Palace.
It was an incredible moment: - KGB officer in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
KGB defector, Oleg Lyalin, subsequently confirmed in debriefing that Kagan was being actively “cultivated” by Vaygauskas, who was, in fact, expelled by the British Foreign Secretary in September 1971 in “Operation Foot”.
Operation FOOT was the expulsion of 105 Soviet intelligence officers from London in 1971, which marked the major turning point in Cold War counter-espionage operations in Britain. It followed a long campaign by the Security Service to persuade successive governments of the need for the expulsions.
The Security Services’ files state that Kagan was hauled in to be interviewed by a K5 Counterespionage Operations officer in November 1971 for questioning, where Kagan admitted that he had seen Vaygauskas weekly, on occasions with Harold Wilson, since 1964, and further that the meetings attended by Wilson were also “attended by Marcia Williams.”
Kagan was subsequently re-interviewed as the procedure requires by K5B/1 Counter-Espionage intelligence officer Tony Brooks, and Kagan admitted in the debriefing that Vaygauskas had asked him (Kagan) and Wilson to use influence with the Jewish community in Britain to call off the then demonstrations and media campaign against trials of Russian Jews in what was then Leningrad.
Brooks made the following note in the Security Service files: “I thanked Kagan for telling me this, as it was a first class example of the KGB exploiting him as an agent of influence.”
During the debriefing session, Kagan also confirmed that Vaygauskas had been collecting “dirt” on people in public life and that Kagan had provided him with “a great deal”. One of the pieces of “dirt” that is maintained in the Security Services’ file was that Harold Wilson was having an extra-marital affair with a female member of staff, not Marcia Williams.
The Security Services files show that Marcia Williams was furious when she discovered that Wilson was involved romantically with a member of his secretarial support staff as she felt it could compromise his position.
In October 1972, Wilson, being concerned that the Security Services were building a file on him, requested a meeting with both MI5 and MI6 to discuss Kagan. A young MI6 officer that had recently been engaged by the Security Services, in May of 1972, was given the task of meeting with the then Prime Minister in the House of Commons. Normally, a request from the Prime Minister for a meeting with the Security Services would have attracted the attention only of the Director General or the Deputy Director General. In this case, however, it was the young officer who made the following note in the Security Services file: “Seems clear that Kagan was being used unconsciously by Vaygauskas to supply items of news or scandal as a medium for obtaining access to the famous. Kagan accepts this. Wilson said Kagan has two main faults; (1) can’t stop gossiping (2) chasing loose women. Wilson added Kagan was a sharp, Jewish businessman and he [Wilson] wished he would stick to his business. Wilson asked if it would help if he was to have a word with Kagan and warn him about Russians. I said that I thought that it would be a good thing because nobody’s secrets could be safe when they are in the hands of a man as scheming as Kagan.”
Wilson also asked the MI6 officer to send Security Services’ technicians to investigate the television set in 10 Downing Street because of his concern that it could be used for a “technical attack” by a hostile intelligence service.
The officer noted in the file: “This enabled me to mention the case of a Lithuanian employed in the electrical department in the House of Commons, who had been introduced to Vaygauskas by Kagan. Wilson was terrified by this information but I assured him that it was under investigation.”
Despite the youth of the MI6 officer, the notation on the file concludes: “The PM is obviously under no illusions about Kagan’s honesty.”
Immediately after the interview with the MI6 officer, Wilson summoned Sir Philip Allen from the Home Office. Allen noted in an inter-departmental memorandum to the Security Services that, despite being well aware of Kagan’s dishonesty and indiscretion, Wilson continued to be his friend to the end.
John Allen, the Director of Counter-Intelligence, concluded that Kagan was clearly a target of the highest importance for the KGB. Even after Kagan was jailed for fraud in 1980, Wilson maintained his friendship with him. On a number of occasions, after Kagan was released from jail, both Wilson and Kagan entertained members of the Soviet Trade Delegation in the House of Lords.
Even as late as 1986, a number of British Embassies complained to the Foreign Office security department regarding Wilson’s personal involvement in companies that had “dodgy reputations”.
The Security Services’ files on Sternberg have the following annotation on how Sternberg had made his money: “By methods which seem frequently to have been on the fringe of respectability.”
In 1961, Sternberg led a committee of Members of Parliament and Peers to the Leipzig Trade Fair, to the great satisfaction of what was the East German Communist Regime not recognised in the West. Sternberg drove around Leipzig in a Rolls Royce flying the Union Jack, which acutely embarrassed the British government.
In May 1974, the then private secretary of Wilson, Robert Armstrong, asked the Director General of MI5, Sir Michael Hanley, whether there was “anything we ought to know about Sternberg”. The Security Service files show that Hanley replied: “There is a measure of interest taken in him by the Soviet Bloc intelligence services.”
MI6 strongly advised that Sternberg should not be given access to any information classified “confidential or above”.
Notwithstanding the opposition from a number of people, including Robert Armstrong, Sternberg received the peerage that he so desperately sought in the 1975 New Year’s Honours List and was elevated as Lord Plurenden. The Security Services’ files note that this “caused particular offence since it was well known that Sternberg had contributed generously to Wilson’s office expenses during his period in opposition.”
Little known is also the fact that now emerges reviewing the security Services’ files that Sternberg was connected with a Swiss bank which became insolvent and that Harold Wilson had maintained an account at that bank which included monies that he acquired from the sale of diamonds he had received from the South African government.
Although Robert Armstrong made Wilson withdraw a proportion of the money, so that not all was lost, nevertheless no-one ever challenged why the Prime Minister held an account in Switzerland, certainly tax free and potentially a criminal offence.
The Security Service interceptions of a number of Labour MPs and Wilson’s assistants show that when Wilson announced his attention to make Sternberg a Lord, “a shocked Foreign Office official protested to Joe Haines, the press secretary of Harold Wilson, asking Haines to tackle Wilson about it, especially about Sternberg being a Soviet spy.”
Intercepts at various locations do confirm that Haines tackled Wilson on this topic, to which Wilson replied that Sternberg was a double agent.
Yet another of Wilson’s disreputable business friends that made their fortunes from the Soviet trade was Harry Kissin, who had also financed Wilson’s private office whilst in opposition. Kissin, in fact, was a major confidante of Wilson during his final term. The Security Services advised the Foreign Office that Kissin was “obviously not a man to be trusted with confidences”.
The same young MI6 officer who had interviewed Wilson was assigned to survey Harry Kissin. One of many Kissin’s indiscretions was to use prostitutes corruptly. By this time the young MI6 officer was considered as reliable by the Security Services and the following annotation from the officer’s report is contained in the files: “When Kissin comes to a brothel looking for pleasure (always two girls at a time) he invariably uses the telephone in his Rolls Royce to establish that the talent at his disposal has already arrived.”
Kissin also employed prostitutes to entertain foreign contacts. In August 1968, according to an MI5 agent report, he sought “a fashionable tart to be nice to one of his business friends, and she was reported to have been nice to him also, shortly afterwards”.
Kissin also had prostitutes to entertain Asian contacts as well as a Senior Diplomat form India, where he had business interests.
There was more than sufficient evidence to show that Kissin passed on confidential information acquired during his conversations with Harold Wilson to at least one call girl agency whose owner, Jack Donniger, was subsequently told to leave England. The Security Services helped him buy a brothel in the Philippines. This was in exchange for Donniger and his girls being debriefed.
Kissin also boasted to a prostitute (Lindsay HG) in September 1973 that he was contributing money to Wilson to boost the Liberal Party Alliance and thus kill off wavering Tory support before the next election. Debriefing of Lindsay HG also showed that Kissin had told her that Wilson was ill. When Wilson returned to office in February 1974, nobody was surprised that Kissin was indeed nominated a Lord, despite vociferous opposition from all around.
He continued to use call girls and prostitutes to entertain his foreign contacts as well as himself, and to talk indiscreetly to prostitutes about his confidential conversations with Harold Wilson.
One of the conversations with prostitute Mary H involved John Stonehouse and the role he played in the ‘Great Train Robbery’ in the UK in 1963.
“Wilson: There are only 3 people listening, you me and MI5.”
Lord Kissin died in 1997, aged 85.
Robert Kissin, 65, the son of Lord Kissin, followed in his father's commodity trading footsteps and, in 2010, was identified by US diplomats as the man at the centre of one of America's worst recent corruption scandals, in which bribes of US$4 million were reportedly handed over in the ex-Soviet state of Kazakhstan. The cash was moved through a Barclays bank account set up in London on behalf of an offshore shell company registered in the Isle of Man, where true ownerships are easier to conceal. The money was designed to help Texas oil services company, Baker Hughes, make corrupt payments to Kazakh state oil chiefs in return for a lucrative USD$219m contract, according to the company's subsequent admissions.
The file on Harold Wilson was indeed actively maintained by MI5 and MI6 and contained all his contacts with communists, KGB officers and other Russians. It also contained the known KGB agents that Wilson had elevated to the House of Lords and, of course, Marcia Williams. A month after Wilson’s premiership expired, the Director General of the Security Services instructed that the index card referring to the file on Harold Wilson must be removed from the registry’s central index, with the result, of course, that anyone wanting to find a file on Wilson would find no trace of one.
The file on Wilson was known only to the Director General, the Director of covert surveillance, the young MI6 officer that had interviewed him in 1972, and the then legal advisor to the Security Services, Bernard Sheldon. But even those other than the Director General requiring access could only do so with the express and written permission of the Director General. The decision to retain the file was approved as a matter of law by Bernard Sheldon, but whether contents of the file have ever been used to undermine Wilson’s position is unknown.
There is no doubt that, whatever Wilson’s main aim in appointing Soviet agents to the House of Lords was, if he appointed so many, then Marcia Williams might well have remained undiscovered. Wilson was also preoccupied in the belief that his former Security Advisor, George Wigg, was behind press attacks on Marcia Williams. Without informing the Security Services, Wilson hired private detectives to put Wigg under surveillance. His protection of Marcia Williams knew no boundaries. One evening in the middle of May 1974, with the Ulster crisis on the top agenda, Wilson had a private dinner with George Wigg, leaving behind in 10 Downing Street, top military personnel and ministers, who were discussing the total collapse of civil order and authority in Northern Ireland. To the dinner, Wilson took with him information on Wigg’s mistress and second family, collected by private detectives, and threatened to expose Wigg if he did not leave Marcia Williams alone.
Soviet spies were not limited to those appointed to the House of Lords by Wilson. Each and every Director General of both MI5 and MI6 have been suspected of being Soviet agents and, in a proportion of the cases, this proved to be true.
It is without a doubt that the affair Wilson had with a member of his support secretarial staff had a considerable bearing on the influence that Marcia Williams had on him. Wilson was now guarding a number of private secrets, which contributed to his state of mind. Whilst Mary Wilson may well have turned a blind eye to the transgressions of her husband with Marcia Williams, Marcia Williams was certainly never going to turn a blind eye to the indiscretions of Harold Wilson with a secretary.
When he could stand it no more, and with the constant pressure from Marcia Williams, to the end he protected her, by resigning from office and ensuring her safety and security - not because they were lovers, but because he had known since the 1950s that she was a Soviet agent.
Throughout his political career, Wilson never gave regard to himself and always thought that he would be exposed or that he would be removed from office because of the clearly obvious and daring appointments to the House of Lords. Today, any Prime Minister appointing known agents to the House of Lords would have a different fate. The Security Services were always of the opinion that Wilson’s appointments were a form of ‘political suicide’ in order to exit the scene.
Quite apart from lowering his gravitas on each and every controversial appointment, Wilson’s stature on the international scene increased.
It may be because all of those around him that counted were in fact Soviet agents, and that the hunt for the “Magnificent Five” should more properly have been entitled the “Magnificent Multitude”
Giovanni Di Stefano
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